IT IS with great sadness the Australian Football League (AFL) advises of the passing of Australian Football Hall of Fame Member Bob Hammond on Saturday May 30.
Hammond, 78, is recognised as one of the giants of South Australian football across a six-decade contribution to the game. He passed away in Adelaide surrounded by close family after a courageous recent battle with Parkinson’s disease.
Debuting as an 18-year-old in 1960, Hammond played in North Adelaide’s premiership side in his initial season and was a triple premiership player for the Roosters across a 234-game SANFL career. He then coached Norwood to the 1975 and 1978 premierships – the first ending a 25-year drought for the club and the second flag triumph coming in the Redlegs’ centenary year. He later coached both SA and the Sydney Swans in the VFL, before a remarkable administrative career in which he was the inaugural chairman of the Adelaide Crows, overseeing the clubs’ only two AFL premierships, and then serving as an AFL Commissioner for a decade from 2001-11. He was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 2015, after previously being inducted into the SANFL Hall of Fame and being awarded Life Membership of both the SANFL and the AFL.
Son Craig Hammond said his father had lived a rich and full life and the family was grateful to all those who had been in contact with him in recent months as his health had begun to turn against him.
"Dad lived a full and busy life and we have a lifetime of memories from the guidance and support he provided to everyone in our family," Craig Hammond said.
"We thank everyone for their support and best wishes as we come to terms with his loss."
Debuting in the back-line as a teenager, Hammond tasted premiership success in his first season and became an automatic selection at state level across his career, being part of the famous SA side that took victory at the MCG against Victoria in 1963. He added premierships with the Roosters in 1971-72 and his last game for the club was the 1973 Grand Final, acclaimed as perhaps the greatest match in SANFL history, before he took up a coaching role with Norwood.
Hammond’s twin premiership successes at the Redlegs revitalised a proud club that had been in the wilderness for more than two decades, re-stating its power position within the SANFL, and he then led the SA team to a ground-breaking State of Origin victory over Victoria in 1983.
The entry of the Adelaide Crows into the AFL was guided by Hammond as the club’s initial chair, overseeing the team’s two premierships, before a decade-long contribution to the wider game as an AFL Commissioner.
AFL Chair Richard Goyder said Hammond’s exalted position as a member of the Australian Football Hall of Fame only partly explained his massive contribution to the strength of Australian football.
"Across more than 160 years of the history of Australian football, just 16 administrators have been honoured as a member of the Hall of Fame for their contribution in building our game from its humble beginnings," Mr Goyder said.
"Bob served Australian football as an esteemed coach and club administrator, before taking on the task of building the overall strength of our sport as a Commissioner, working for a decade to build our game in every part of our cities, communities and country regions.
"He had the ability to look at what was good for the whole of the game, and to drive towards those outcomes, coming from a background of success at every club he had been a part of through his lifetime.
“Above all, he will be remembered as a wonderful strong and hard defender for his beloved North Adelaide, a member of their Team of the Century, and in that rare club of Roosters who was a part of three separate premiership teams, yet equally beloved at Norwood for delivering the club out of the wilderness.
"On behalf of the AFL Commission, our clubs, the SANFL and its clubs and the wider game, our thoughts are with his family and close friends and we are grateful for what Bob has given us across his lifetime in football."
The Hammond family is working through the arrangements of a service that can occur during the current COVID-19 restrictions, and will advise when those details are finalised.
Bob Hammond was cherished by his family and they appreciate everyone’s care and concern:
Children: Craig and wife Sarah, Jo and husband Tom.
Step Children: Grant (deceased), Belinda and husband Craig, Amanda and partner Ian.
Grandchildren: Jasmin, Bonnie, Oscar, William, Lucy, Finn, Noah.
234 games for North Adelaide, 1960-73, kicking 69 goals.
14 games for Norwood, 1974-75.
Premierships 1960, 1971-72.
Champions of Australia 1972.
Captain 1973, North Adelaide.
Captain 1974, Norwood.
Seven games for SA.
Norwood coach 1974-79, 89 wins, 52 losses.
Premierships 1975, 1978.
Champions of Australia 1977.
SA coach 1983.
Sydney Swans (VFL) coach 1984.
Life member –North Adelaide, Norwood, SANFL, AFL.
Norwood FC board member 1981-90.
Adelaide Crows Chair 1991-2000.
AFL Commissioner 2001-11.